The Texans practiced Friday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade PhillipsCB Johnathan JosephFS Danieal Manning
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the injuries) "(Lawrence) Vickers did not practice. He'll be a game time decision. (Tim) Bulman did not practice. He'll be a game-time decision and Garrett Graham will be a game time decision. All those have been nursing things all week and we just held them out. That's what we're doing today. We'll work them all out Sunday morning and see if they're a go."
(on FB Lawrence Vickers being the starter if he's healthy) "Yeah, I feel good with him playing if he's okay. He worked hard yesterday. We brought him back today. He's feeling pretty good, but with the amount of time we're on the field today, I thought we'd give him another day's rest. He actually gets two with tomorrow. If he shows me Sunday morning he can do it, he'll go."
(on what FB Lawrence Vickers has done to impress him) "He's just played very physical. He got an opportunity with James (Casey) being out and he took advantage of it. He went there and hell, we run the ball very good. He got better every week. That's what this game's about. You get chances and you got to step in there and team starts doing things pretty darn good. You got to give him credit and that's kind of what happened. If he's not able to go, then James has got to carry the load."
(on if FB James Casey is 100 percent healthy) "Yeah, James is fine. James is back to 100 percent and took everything he could take this week. He's ready to carry."
(on what FB Lawrence Vickers' injury is) "Hamstring. He's got just a slight hamstring that he got against Tampa Bay and hasn't worked since."
(on if he will script the start of the game the same way with QB Matt Leinart as he would with QB Matt Schaub) "Yeah, I won't do anything different. We're going to do what we do. I think he and Matt (Schaub) are a lot alike in what they do and what they can handle. I don't see us being any different. A few calls may have to be a little different from left to right, those type of things, but he's ready to play. He's had a good week, a good practice and we can't put the whole game on Lefty. Our team's got to play good, so that's what we'll stay focused on."
(on if the first series of the game will be important for QB Matt Leinart) "I don't look at it that way. Hell, I just want him to go play the game, play good over the course of the game and if we don't have a good first series, then we need a good second series. If you have a good first one, you got to do it all day. That's part of the game, so we just need to go play good."
(on if there's anything he can do to make the in-game transition easier for QB Matt Leinart) "Yeah, that's got me up at night just trying to make sure I can put him in the best possible situation. That's my job and that's our job as coaches. We worked real hard this week to see that we're doing what we think that he does best, but I think we're going to continue to learn more and more about him as we go and that's what we have to do. We have to all adjust and move forward."
(on if there's any difference in QB Matt Leinart's demeanor) "He's very confident. He's practiced well. He took every rep. Our starter takes every rep on Fridays. That's the way we practice and boy, he practiced clean today. I just know he's excited to play. I'm sure he'll be going 100 miles an hour. I'll have to calm him down and just get him to play a good three-and-a-half hour football game."
(on FS Danieal Manning) "He's ready to go. He's going to play, guys. He'll start. He'll play. We will try to keep a play count on him so it doesn't get out of hand, but it's been amazing and can't hold him back. He's ready to go."
(on what it does for the defense to have FS Danieal Manning back) "It does a lot. He's a leader and I think the team just sees how hard he's worked to get back. They're so impressed with that."
(on having WR Andre Johnson back for QB Matt Leinart's first start) "Well, it's been good for the team just to have him back out here. I can see how hungry he is to get back to be a part of what's going on. He's practiced good this week. Ya'll know what Andre means to this team and for him to be putting the uniform on again on Sunday, he hasn't done it in a while, so it will mean a lot to the team."
(on if the team is excited for the last six games) "Yeah, we got a lot of energy. Everybody's excited about the opportunity that we have, but I think everybody's smart enough to know that it's one week at a time, one game at a time. This has historically been a tough place to go win. They've beat good football teams in this place. We know we've got a hell of a challenge and it's been two weeks since we got after it, so we're excited to go play."
(on how QB T.J. Yates is handling the extra reps) "I've been impressed. I think he's going to be a fine player. He's working good. He's handling the load mentally. If something happens to Matt (Leinart), I feel good that he'll play well. I got a lot of confidence in him."
(on if QB Kellen Clemens is catching on to the offense) "That's a lot to ask right now. He knows our terminology. I probably won't suit him. I'll probably just suit two. I think it will take a couple weeks to get him comfortable, but at least he's got a head start over some of the other guys."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on if he's even a little surprised at how well the defense is playing) "Well, coaches are different. They all think they're going to do good. Everybody, before the season starts, no OTAs and all that, everybody still thinks they're going to do well. You know, got a great staff. Those guys really coach them. I don't do a whole lot. Don't tell anybody. Don't tell (Founder, Chairman and CEO Bob McNair) Mr. McNair. And the players have just done a tremendous job. Mr. McNair went and got some players. (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick Smith drafted some players and Gary's (Kubiak) a great head coach, leadership-wise. They have all the combination for doing well."
(on being able to place players in the right positions to be successful) "Some of that's experience. I've coached the same defense for almost 30 years. We've tweaked it through the years. We don't run it the same as we did with the Oilers, but there's a lot of things that are similar. Things that we did well with the Houston Oilers way back, we're still running some of those same calls. Once you're doing the same thing for a long, long time and you've had different people play in those positions, you learn to adjust to the players. I can think of a lot of things defensively to play. It's what the players can do. That's the real truth."
(on how proud the defense is with where they're at right now) "Well, I think it gives our group a lot of confidence that we're playing that well. Going into each game, we feel like we can win and we can win on defense and that's important for all of us."
(on having FS Danieal Manning back) "Yeah, Danieal was having a great year. While he was playing, Danieal was doing great and now it looks like he's going to be back again, so that's super."
(on if it's surprised him that FS Danieal Manning has healed as fast as he did) "Oh yeah, that surprises everybody. Now, that does surprise me. Coaches don't think that way. They think that none of the players are coming back. So yeah, it is amazing he's coming back, but he looked really good in practice. He had a lot of interceptions and he brings a lot to the table."
(on FS Danieal Manning's quick recovery speaking to his desire to be on the field) "Yeah and of course he heals fast. We're not going to put him out there if he didn't heal and be ready to play. The doctors and trainers have said he's doing well and he says he doesn't have any residual effects, so I think he's going to do well."
(on if his father has said anything to him on the performance of the defense) "My dad, I talk to him after every game and during the week too, but I mean after every game and he always has a few pointers for me. 'Why did you do this and why didn't you do that?' Sometimes it's offense. 'Why did ya'll do that?' and I say 'I don't have anything to do with that. That's not me.'"
(on if he ever gets in any arguments with his father about the defense) "No, well there's a couple things. He's a stickler for a couple things we do and a couple things we don't do. Every once in a while he says, 'I know I don't know anything about it, but don't you think you ought to do this?' He tries to put it on me that way."
(on his father being confident the defense would be better this season) "Well, yeah, that's the father in him."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what it means to get FS Danieal Manning back in the lineup) "It's a great feeling. He's been down for the last three or four weeks. Just to have him back in the meeting room with us and out on the field lifting us up, picking us up and having fun with us is a great deal."
(on what FS Danieal Manning brings to the defense) "He adds another dimension. When he left, he was blitzing well, getting quarterback sacks, and of course he was covering well. He's a great tackler. He can also go back there and add another dimension to the kickoff return, so for us, it's just great having him back altogether."
(on how impressive it is that FS Danieal Manning has returned so quickly) "I asked him the same thing. I think he rubbed some of that red clay they've got down here in Texas on it, just trying to heal him up a little quicker. It's just a great deal to have him back. It's sooner than expected, but hey, we're glad."
(on what FS Danieal Manning adds to the defense from a chemistry standpoint) "Just another veteran guy. He's played well, coming in here with me during training camp, and then he had the injury and went down early, but just to have him back overall; another guy in the room with veteran experience is a great deal."
FS Danieal Manning
(on what it took for him to get back onto the field so quickly) "A lot of prayer and a lot of hard work, and the training staff in there and the guys just believing in me. I worked pretty hard. I think out of the four weeks that I was off, I missed probably three days of just not working out, but they gave me those days off."
(on coming back from a broken leg in a month) "I know. It's amazing, but with God, anything is possible. I just came out here and I put my best foot forward in working out. I kept telling the trainers back and forth, I said, 'How long will it be before I'm able to get on the field?' And they said, 'Well, you've got to go through these certain exercises before we let you pass and get out there on that field,' so I breezed through those. Every day I was up here, five hours a day."
(on what it will mean to him to get back on the field Sunday) "It means a lot. When I actually saw the x-rays and they said my leg was broken, I thought I was done for the season, so that was a hill to climb. They told me I had two options. They gave me the option that I liked and I took it."
(on when he realized that he could possibly return to playing so quickly) "Well, I had to develop the strength in my calves and see how low the soreness was; and at the same time, how fast I can be able to walk and run on it before I get out there on the field. Every week, I kept improving. Every day, I kept improving, and they just told me. I got my last x-ray from the doc and he told me, 'It seems like everything healed up.'"
(on how long the original diagnosis predicted he would miss) "Originally, four to six [weeks] with this surgery. It just depends on how fast you can recover. I actually was recovered by three weeks, and then last week with the bye week, I got to practice a little bit on my own."
(on what the doctors inserted into his leg during surgery) "Screws and a metal plate."
(on what it feels like to be talking about returning to the field) "It feels great. I had a week to think about it and get a lot of thoughts together, and the biggest one I could come up with is I'm just so grateful. I'm so grateful to be able to be back out there and be able to play football with these guys, be a part of what they're doing, be a part of making some history and be able to hopefully be in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl."